Old Martin Guitar - Smashed during filming of The Hateful Eight

It was an 1870’s Martin, apparently sourced from Martin and their onsite museum. The article goes onto say the Tarantino smirked when it happen and folks were getting upset, and that Martin responded by shrugging and asking if they needed another.

Some folks on guitar boards are getting their undies in a bundle about Tarantino. Frankly, I doubt he smirked or that Martin shrugged. The guitar was worth maybe $3-$4,000 (the modern design of flattops emerged around 1928, so guitars from before then are often priced less vs. “prewar Martins” which are typically from 1928 - 1944). Martin wouldn’t’ve loaned out a truly precious guitar and will reassemble it and put it on display. It stinks but sounds like an honest accident.

Wish it was Jeff Bridges, not Kurt Russell. Bridges is a real player and has a few really nice old guitars. He would’ve recognized ;). Or even Richard Gere who had a top flight collection before he sold most of it, with some going to the Martin museum…


Have you seen Quentin Tarantino?


I learned the hard way to never trust your shit with movie people. I rented some assholes a car for a movie and the damage and abuse it suffered couldn’t be anything but deliberate.

Not worth the fee I was paid, I assure you.

On the other hand, I still own the car and it is a semi-daily driver.

Fair point :wink:

Quentin Tarantino winning an Oscar.

Quentin Tarantino being told he has inoperable cancer.
Quentin Tarantino watching a new puppy.

Quentin Tarantino getting a colonoscopy.

Quentin Tarantino witnessing the birth of his child.
Quentin Tarantino watching an antique guitar get smashed to bit.

Damned, that’s a shame

Could have used a stunt double geetar, maybe a Hondo or Harmony

On the Acoustic Guitar Forum, someone shared what they say are FB posts from one of Martin’s biggest representatives, Dick Boak:

Well, you were right that Martin didn’t just shrug it off.

Ha! Out of my four guitars, one is a Harmony (H54 Rocket) and another is a Hondo (Flying V knock-off). One cost $80 and the other was free. :smiley:

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

It is amazing to me that they would lend out a museum-quality antique without insuring it for its true value (presumably, at the expense of the borrower).

Yes. Not sure what that tells us, although Martin as a many-generation family-owned company probably has its quirks. They are known for their very well-kept records, and for allowing people to play the guitars in their museum*, so you’d think they have this down.

*I haven’t been there when they were putting the museum guitars through their paces, but have spoken with friends who have been able to play historic guitars from the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s - swoon.

Reverb article with additional information.Not happy indeed.

A lot of this is on Martin for not insuring it adequately.

Also didn’t they foresee any other kinds of negative effects from loaning it out (to quentin tarantino no less) , like cracks etc.? WTF?

I smell some kind of publicity reach here from the filmmakers. Now everyone knows that scene is going to come and it’s a real priceless item being smashed. It’s rock roll and total tarantino .

I disagree; none of this is “on Martin”; such a thought is ridiculous and is a blatant example of blaming the victim.

Meh, insurance isn’t going to actually replace the guitar, just give you the cash equivalent. Tarantino wouldn’t notice it if he compensated them out of his pocket (and I would have already paid generously were I him).

OTOH, Martin learned a lesson the hard way. I don’t lend out things I can’t replace. Perhaps they’ll ask themselves (or the borrower) exactly why they need a 140 year old guitar next time. Since this was a movie, the prop they intended to smash would probably have served just fine for the entire scene.

On the third hand, I severely lust after both of those guitars, wguy123. If you ever want to sell either, contact me!


I don’t really believe these kind of stories. The way films are made, that scene would have been rehearsed and filmed many times over. A stunt guitar in every take including the one that made it in to the movie which was likely the best take out of tens.

The accident clearly wasn’t Martin’s fault, but it was equally clearly a screw-up by someone at their end to not have in place adequate insurance when lending out valuable antiques for use as movie props.

That’s just a basic business precaution, and someone in that business ought to have known it.

That said, of course it isn’t necessarily the case that cash would allow actual replacement of this piece: I have no idea what the market for such guitars is like. If the guitar was really unique, cash, however much, would not fully compensate for its loss (but then, that brings into question how reasonable it is to lend out irreplaceable items as movie props in the first place, insurance or not).

As I state upthread, you can check Reverb.com for 1860-1880 Martins. The ones I have seen confirmed what I said: they go for around $3,000-$5,000.

Now, this one may have had unique features, but I believe it is more likely that the Martin Museum thinks of it as “priceless” for what it represented in their history. Maybe it represented a certain design, or top bracing, or label stamp, that geeks like me would love to see as we walk through the museum’s displayed timeline.

They are known for being interested in specific instruments when they come up for auction for this reason. They have taken their museum more seriously over the past 20 years and invested into getting a good representation along the timeline. They bought Richard Gere’s first example of a Martin-labeled dreadnaught, for example.

When it is known that Martin is in the market for a specific guitar up for auction, there is typically discussion on the vintage guitar board about whether any other pursuers will stand down so the guitar can return to the mothership. Because Martin displays and allows access to these guitars, they are seen as good guys. Within that context, this incident stinks.

Yes, Martin should’ve had the insurance in order. But they are out a piece of history a LOT more than they are out of a lot of money. You can’t insure for that.

I will keep an eye out for update threads on messageboards. I will be interested in hearing about the attributes of this specific guitar and if/how Martin may seek for a new example.